Bloomington – Indiana has one more scholarship to give in the '09 class, and one player appears to be the most likely candidate to take that spot.
The 6-11, 250-pound center from the West Africa country of Guinea is tentatively scheduled to make an official visit to IU next weekend. Manuri said the visit isn't set in stone, but with an IU offer already in hand, it's pretty clear that if he does in fact make the visit there's a very good chance he could commit either during the visit or soon afterwards.
"Where I decide to go – and I'm hoping that it will be Indiana – I'm hoping when I get there I can get it done on the court," Manuri said.
That's what Manuri said earlier this week, so it's clear he has a very high opinion of the IU program and the possibility of playing for the Hoosiers. He has interest from schools like Oklahoma State, USC, Louisville and UCLA, but Indiana's need at the center position has him looking very hard at Tom Crean's program.
If Indiana does in fact get Manuri, it would appear to be taking itself out of the running for both Dominic Cheek and Angus Brandt. Both are players who are ahead of Manuri in the rankings, with Cheek coming in at No. 15 in Scout.com's '09 rankings while Brandt has just recently surfaced at No. 86.
So what's the logic? As good as Cheek is, the Hoosiers' needs at the ‘5' are much more pressing than on the wing. Nick Williams is expected to blossom into a very good player in Bloomington, while Maurice Creek has emerged as a top-50 national recruit this season. Christian Watford and Malik Story are also players who can play on the wing depending on who else is on the floor.
Brandt is probably the more difficult option to pass up. After all, Indiana already has its foot in the door with him after getting him on campus last month for its elite camp. His offensive skill set is very good, and he projects as a center at the collegiate level. But he's also expressed an interest to take the recruiting process slow, which means he might wait until the spring to make a decision.
Indiana might not want to wait that long. If that is in fact the case, and IU's staff gets the vibe that Brandt is going to wait until the spring, then Manuri is the best bet to round out IU's 2009 class.
One rumor that simply doesn't want to die is the story that Lawrence North H.S. forward Stephan Van Treese is giving serious consideration to walking on at IU with the promise of being put on scholarship in 2010.
Rest assured, this isn't going to happen. While Van Treese's dream at one time might have been to play for the Hoosiers, it wasn't as a walk-on. And although he has plummeted in the national rankings in the 2009 class, he's clearly someone who will have scholarship offers to consider, whether it's this fall or more likely in the spring.
From Indiana's perspective, Tom Crean is already looking at a very limited number of scholarships to work with for 2010-11 (the year Van Treese would presumably be put on scholarship). There are only two players slated to graduated in 2010 (Tijan Jobe, Devan Dumes), and there are no assurances IU won't lose one of those scholarships when the NCAA hands down its ruling on its case against the program.
There's little doubt that Stephan Van Treese will be playing Division I basketball next fall, but it won't be at IU.
Another Class of 2009 big man who has expressed interest in IU is Chris Braswell, the 6'8", 225-pounder from Washington D.C., who is playing at Hargrave Military Academy alongside Hoosier recruit Maurice Creek. Braswell's AAU coach told Scout.com National Recruiting Director Dave Telep that he would be making an official visit to IU the weekend of Sept. 27.
While that very well may be the case, at least one Hoosiernation.com source says Braswell is expected to wind up at UNC-Charlotte. Braswell has scheduled his fifth and final official visit to Coach Bobby Lutz's program Oct. 11.
It's never too early for AAU teams to start to take shape, and this year's Chicago Elite coach, Sid White, is expecting to be helping put together a very good team for the summer of 2009. He said he's going to be teaming up with one of Indiana Elite's coaches, Mike Fox, and assembling a team that will include, among others: Lavonte Dority, Dominique Ferguson, Terone Johnson, Marshall Plumlee and Mike McCall.
Dority and McCall are not only AAU teammates but high school teammates as well at Chicago's Foreman H.S. Much has been written about Dority, a talented point guard who made an unofficial visit to IU last weekend along with Lenzelle Smith. But the 6'1", 170-pound McCall is getting plenty of interest now as well. White said since the July period came to a close, McCall has been offered by Southern Illinois, Wichita State, Wright State, Western Michigan and Northern Illinois.
College coaches were able to go back out on the road to recruit Tuesday with the start of the NCAA's Contact Period, which runs from Sept. 9-Oct. 5. Crean and IU assistants Bennie Seltzer and Roshown McLeod traveled to Birmingham, Ala., on the first day to visit with (and get a commitment from) Christian Watford, and McLeod was back on the road Wednesday making another visit.
While the contact period comes at the same time as the start of IU's basketball workouts, Crean is going to make it a point to not miss any of the workouts with his new IU team. He said he missed only a couple of workouts in his last four years at Marquette, and considers it vital that he be on the court for those sessions.
Crean plays to still be heavily involved with doing the visits during the month, but he's planning on scheduling the workouts so there aren't conflicts.
"That doesn't mean I'm not going to recruit all day and then not come back at 9 or 10 at night and do the workouts then," Crean said. "That's part of it too, and the (IU) players have to understand that."
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